A Town Called Asbestos

Welcome to the town of Asbestos, Quebec. These epoches,’ asbestos’ is a word witha sense of doom attached to it. But when this mine was opened in thelate 19 th century, that really wasn’t the case. Which is why they listed the town after it. This pit precisely here was the biggestasbestos mine in the world. Asbestos is a mineral, easily mined in excavations like this. It can be turned into strong, cheap, fire-resistant insulation, and it was used in a huge numberof structure projections in the 20 th century. Either as big insularity blocks, or inceiling tiles, or just sprayed on as cladding.It was a miracle substance: it is possible to even be woven into attire, likemilitary uniforms or firefighters’ mitts. The catch is that it’s made up ofmicroscopic little fibrous quartzs. If you divulge asbestos, drop it, sandpaper it, turn it into separation and scatter it around, those little fibres get into the airand build up in people’s lungs. Decades later, people who’ve worked with absestos, or lived near an asbestos mine, they tend to develop a particularly nastytype of cancer announced mesothelioma. Any showing to asbestos staples, however small-time, can be dangerous. And in this town, there was sometimes so muchasbestos dust in the air that children could write their refers in itwhen it set. We know all that now, so: why haven’t they altered the specify? In 2006, the town’s then-mayortried to change it, but the relevant recommendations was elected down. And I wanted to find out why, but no-one fromthe town wanted to talk to me. I emailed quite a few neighbourhoods, the local government, the historical society. Everyone either said no, they weren’t interested, or really didn’t reply.They were gracious, of course, they’re Canadian, but it wasn’t for them. And it took me perhaps a little bit too longto realise why. The reputation attracts people like meand onlookers like you. I knew this video was going to be titled”A Town Called Asbestos” right away, it’s the self-evident name, it’s got a ring to it. Which is why there’s already a five-part serieson YouTube from 2011 called precisely that, developed in partnership by a researcher who expend yearswith this town. She turned her PhD into a work, likewise titled”A Town Called Asbestos”. Vice.com published a seriesby a German photojournalist, entitled “A Town Called Asbestos”. All the time, beings turn up here, to documentThe Town with The Name. Some of them, like this author, are thorough and pity and make decades of autobiography into account. Some aren’t. Some just set up a camera by the mine overlook, turn out for a couple of hours and cinema something.Others don’t even stay, they just make funof them from the other side of the world. “Why? Because the town’s refer is Asbestos.”[ AUDIENCE LAUGHTER] How do you feel about the refer? Why don’t you change it? They’ve answered these same questionsfor years, and I suspect they’revery, very tired of it. The clearest answer that I’ve discover is froman interview in the Globe and Mail in 2016. Ghislain Tessier, vice-president of a localchamber of exchange, said: “Asbestos was our lives.It was our heritage.” And I think that’s the key to why this townis still called Asbestos. Because, yes, for most of the world, the identify is alarming. But here, that’s tempered with the fact thatthis mine, like a coal excavation or a gold mine, it was how people stimulated their living.Lots of parties acted in the excavation, and their parents, and their grandparents, and their great-grandparents. It was part of their identity, a mineral thatthe world wanted to use, it was stirred right here by them, and it saved beings, and it truly was something to be proud of. Asbestos, and this mine, was defended by thefolks who worked now. In’ 97, just after France censored asbestos, four soldiers from this city, four of the luckier ones, ran the Paris Marathon. And they were praised in a statementin Canada’s Parliament for showing that the risks weren’t that great. Because the risks were drastically downplayedby the managers and by government. Even after the world at large agreedhow perilous asbestos is, economics and the desire for profit meantthat it was still quarried for decades here. This mine only closed down in 2012. It’s only been a few years. Maybe the mention will change, if merely to stop jackass like me coming alongand extending,’ ooh, look at this place’.But not just yet. Dr Jessica van Horssen’s book is the definitivehistory of the town and the excavation, a great deal of this video is based on it, and Ithoroughly recommend it ..


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